Prevent Damage: How to Protect Your Skin From Environmental Pollutants!
If you live in the big city, you probably won’t be able to escape all the environmental pollutants surrounding you. However, being aware of the types of pollution you are exposed to on a daily basis and making simple adjustments to your skincare routine can help mitigate the damaging effects it can have on your skin.
Types of Pollutants
- Primary pollutants:
- Nitrogen oxide – from motor vehicle and factory emissions
- Volatile organic compounds ( produced when fossil fuels are burned or chemicals are evaporated into the air)
- Secondary pollutant:
- Ozone (aka smog) – created when primary pollutants (nitrogen oxide + volatile organic compounds) come into contact with sunlight
- Other pollutants:
- Cigarette smoke
- Small particulate matter (non-gaseous)
Effects on the Skin: How Pollution Makes Your Skin Look
- Dull skin
- Dry skin
- Clogged pores
- Premature aging
Ways to Protect Your Skin from Pollution
For damage control, the number one thing you can do on a daily basis is cleanse your skin! This will wash away the bulk of the dirt, debris, and other particles that may have come into contact with your skin. If you only have time to wash your face once per day, do so at night; that way you can strip away that toxic build-up of pollutants that has accumulated on your skin over the course of the day!
For a deep pore detoxifying treatment, a weekly clay mask is beneficial. It will draw out any toxins and impurities that have nestled into your pores.
To protect your skin from damage against environmental pollutants, it’s crucial that you take care of your skin’s lipid barrier. This is the thin outer layer of skin that acts as a barrier against foreign bodies. Use an emollient face cream or facial oil to help strengthen your skin’s outer protective layer.
If you know you’ll be out in an area where a high concentration of motor vehicle traffic will be present, don’t be afraid to cover your face with a scarf. The less your skin is exposed to toxic exhaust fumes, the better off your skin will be.
Pollution generates free radicals (molecules with unpaired electrons) which cause oxidative stress and make your skin age prematurely. A diet rich in antioxidants will help your body fight free radical damage and ensure your skin stays looking youthful as long as possible!